nothing and not

Nature doesn’t make long speeches.
A whirlwind doesn’t last all morning.
A cloudburst doesn’t last all day.
Who makes the wind and the rain?
Heaven and earth do.
If heaven and earth don’t go on and on,
certainly people don’t need to.

The people who work with Tao
are Tao people,
they belong to the Way.
People who work with power
belong to power.
People who work with loss
belong to what’s lost.

Give yourself to the Way
and you’ll be at home on the Way.
Give yourself to power
and you;ll be at home in power.
Give yourself to loss
and when you’re lost you’ll be at home.

To give no trust
is to get no trust.

Lao Tzu
Ursula K Le Guin’s version

If what you seek is power, you will only be happy with power.

If what you seek is what was lost, then your only solace is in memories.

If what you seek is the Way, then you’re in luck, because the Way is all around us, waiting, moving.

There’s more that could be said about this poem by smarter people than me. But the center of this is that there are ways to view the world. Some are myopic while others are holistic. That’s not to say that the Way is the only way to see the world, or the only correct one. But it does make a point about power and loss.

If your goal is to Make America Great Again, you’re chasing ghosts and will never be satisfied because there are always more ghosts, always more imagined realities or real realities that we’ve left behind us.

You could even spin this into discussions of mental health. I think a lot of anxiety and depression are linked to thought processes that have us constantly turning backwards to better days, or to moments when we failed, made fools of ourselves.

If your goal is power, there will never be enough to gain. Your life will belong to this pursuit, and you will be consumed by it.

The Way is simpler. The Tao asks for much less and much more of us. More in that it asks that we look beyond ourselves and our specific contexts. Less because it asks that we do less within that context.

There’s nothing to be gained or lost with the Tao.